F15 Low Level

Coyote Summit ‑ Military Low Flying Location

Coyote Summit is a mountain pass, 5,610ft (1,710m) above sea level, located in the desert area of Lincoln County, Nevada, on the State Route 375 ‘Extraterrestrial Highway’ seven miles south of the small town of Rachel.

Rachel is an approximate 2.5‑hour drive (147 miles, 273km) from Las Vegas and is well known for the Little A‘Le’Inn, a small bar, restaurant, and motel, made famous by featuring in the T.V. programmes: X‑Files, Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends and the film ‘Paul’. With the area being located adjacent to ‘Area 51’ the USAF aircraft testing facility, which lies within the Nevada Test & Training Range (NTTR), the Inn sells a variety of ‘Area 51’ and UFO related tourist merchandise.

Coyote Summit Location Map

When travelling from Las Vegas, Coyote Summit is approached from the south‑east across the seventeen‑mile wide Tikaboo Valley. Where the road crests the summit, on the west side is a rough parking area and the hill used for the photography location. From the parking area it is an approximate 220ft (67m) climb to a suitable vantage point which takes about twenty to thirty minutes at a leisurely pace. Climbing the east face can be steep in parts with caution required. An approach from the north and west is more suited for the less athletic.

From the vantage point looking west is the Groom Mountain Range, which beyond lie the military ranges. Aircraft from Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), Las Vegas, transiting into the ranges low‑level tend to approach from the south across the Tikaboo Valley desert basin (and Highway 276). From the vantage point they can be distant, pass nearby, or even pass low overhead. Its all a matter of luck. On their return from the ranges the same applies.

Coyote Summit location is more suited to when Nellis AFB hosts its major Red Flag exercises, when there is a higher volume of traffic and a greater chance of aircraft transiting into and from the ranges at low‑level.

During these exercises if you are unlucky not to catch any aircraft low‑level, there can still be lots of activity to be observed high above as the contrails of participating aircraft can be seen attempting to outmanoeuvre their opponents, intermixed with the occasional sonic boom.

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